The COVID-19 excuse? How migration policies are hardening around the globe

Exploiting the crisis

Migration experts and rights groups say these restrictive policies – calling for people to be pushed back across borders or concentrated in crowded camps or detention centres – aren’t intended to protect public health, but are part of a trend in recent years, especially in Europe and the United States, of governments trying to limit access to asylum and prevent mobility.  

“From a public health point of view, you want to minimise the amount of movement amongst people at this time,” Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, told TNH. “Deporting people back to a country, that’s movement, and that increases risk of transmission.” 

“Any sort of closed detention centre… is going to be problematic,” Spiegel also said. “Those people in those institutions are going to suffer from an increased transmission [rate] and from the disease, but so will people working there.”


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People

Emily Lyles

Dr. Lyles is an associate faculty in the Department of International Health...

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Daniella Malave

Daniella is a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian...

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Mustafa Kamal Sikder

Dr. Sikder studied long-term and short-term drinking water supply interventions...

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Eileen Shields-West

Eileen Shields-West served as a correspondent of TIME Magazine and San Francisco...

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Jason M. M. Spangler

Jason M. M. Spangler, MD, MPH, FACPM is Executive Director of Value, Quality,...

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